45th Anniversary of the CPP/NPA, arrest of the Tiamzon couple

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By Arnold Van Vugt

The Living Spirit

Thursday, April 3, 2014


LAST March 30, the CPP/NPA celebrated its 45th anniversary. Ironically, two days before that event I received an email from a Carmelite confrere of mine in Holland who told me that he was invited by Louis Jalandoni, the representative of the NDF in Holland, to attend the celebration that was to be held in Amsterdam. He declined the invitation because the celebration was on a Sunday and he had to say several Masses on that day.

Ever since the founding of the NDF office in Utrecht the Carmelites have always been very supportive of Jalandoni and the NDF. Jalandoni is a diocesan priest from Bacolod and a close friend of mine. In the mid-seventies he decided to get married to Connie Ledesma. Both joined the underground movement against the Marcos’ regime and Louis was requested to set up the office of the NDF in Utrecht.

I was instrumental for him and his wife to go to Holland and get an asylum status from the Dutch government. Later he got a dual citizenship in Holland. Personally I supported also the cause of the NDF and we remained friends until the Edsa revolution. Louis did not believe that Edsa was really a revolution and together with Jose Ma. Sison, the founding chair of the CPP/NPA who was able also to escape to Holland after his release from prison they started the peace negotiations with the Philippine government in Norway.

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They remained hard-line believers in the Maoist ideology of the dictatorship of the proletariat. I myself had a falling-out from the movement after my traumatic experience of the Antongalon massacre in 1985 where 48 activists from the countryside were murdered under suspicion of being infiltrators in the ranks of the NPA, including Manoling Malicay an activist worker in our parish of San Francisco, Agusan Sur.

This prompted me to leave the priesthood and marry his wife who was left behind with 6 young children whom I adopted. Repeatedly I tried to contact Jalandoni through email and convince him to come back to the Philippines to continue the peace negotiations here on the local level, including Mindanao. He never sent me a reply. He may have changed his email address in the meantime.

Last week, while I was in Cebu I read in the newspaper about the arrest of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon and company in Cebu. This is really a big blow to the revolutionary movement and its leadership. It seems that the Tiamzons have taken over the command over the CPP/NPA from Sison.

According to the news report Jalandoni claims that the Tiamzons are covered by the Jasig, an agreement signed in 1995 between the NDFP and the Philippine government, which grants the consultants who are part of the negotiating team immunity from arrest, detention and provides safety guarantees to prevent any incident that may jeopardize the peace negotiations.

Ging Deles who represents the Philippine government in the negotiations says that to sustain their claim to Jasig protection is ridiculous, because that would mean they can wage war and violence against government and when caught, claim Jasig protection and expect to be released. This is outrageous considering that the peace negotiations have not moved for over a year now.

It looks like that my Carmelite confreres in Holland are out of touch with the reality of the peace process and are not aware of the developments that have taken place in the Philippines. They still maintain a friendly relationship with Louis Jalandoni.

As for me, if I were in Holland I would request the Dutch government to force Jalandoni and company to go back to the Philippines and let the rebels in the mountains surrender their arms and make a final peace agreement with the Philippine military’s Oplan Bayanihan.

[Email: nolvanvugt@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 03, 2014.

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